According to daily Star, Aston Villa have reportedly agreed a deal to bring back Sam Johnstone on yet another loan spell season. The Manchester United goalkeeper impressed during his six-month long loan spell at Villa Park. Steve Bruce’s close ties with United were a major factor in getting Johnstone, who had been the club’s third choice goalkeeper up until then. Jose Mourinho gave so little opportunities for Johnstone to play ahead of David de Gea and Sergio Romero. Rather than limit his development at Old Trafford, the decision was made to send him out to a club where he would get regular first-team football.
The loan move to Villa has worked like a treat, as the 24-year-old made 21 appearances in the Championship in the second half of the campaign. His performances were undoubtedly a factor behind Villa making significant improvements in the table during this period. After flirting with relegation at the start of the campaign, the club brought in Bruce as the replacement for Roberto di Matteo. Even though initial results were disappointing, the former Hull City and Sunderland manager made significant changes in January – including the arrival of Johnstone – to finish in a respectable 13th place. Villa are expected to be in and amongst the clubs challenging for promotion next season.
Manchester United brought back Joel Pereira as his replacement. The young Portuguese goalkeeper was on loan at Belenenses. Since making the return back to Old Trafford, he has primarily featured in the Premier League 2 games. However, there was the debut in the FA Cup against Wigan earlier in the campaign. It is expected that Pereira will continue as the third choice goalkeeper unless something drastic happens with the first choice players.
David de Gea has been consistently linked with a move to Real Madrid, although those rumours have called off in the last few weeks. Sergio Romero has been unable to get much of a game time at Old Trafford. However, it is almost certain that Jose Mourinho will not replace Romero with either Johnstone or Pereira. Both players still have a long way to go before even thinking about a regular place in the United first team squad.
Even if Johnstone heads back to the Championship on loan, it is likely that his contract will be extended. The 24-year-old’s current contract with United expires in the summer of 2018. A new three-year contract may be on the table if United do want to give him another season to progress. If not, he may very well be sold to Villa.